Duduzane Zuma acquitted of culpable homicide after Porsche crash

12 July 2019 - 10:21 By nomahlubi jordaan
Duduzane Zuma greeting staff at the Randburg court.
Duduzane Zuma greeting staff at the Randburg court.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

Duduzane Zuma was found not guilty of culpable homicide on Friday.

Phumzile Dube, mother to a young daughter, died after Zuma's Porsche was involved in a collision with the minibus she was travelling in on the M1, near the Grayston turnoff in Johannesburg, in 2014.

Her family was in court on Friday to hear the verdict.

Supported by former president Jacob Zuma and his sister Duduzile, he heard magistrate Tebogo Thupaatlase declare that there was no evidence that he had failed to keep a proper look-out.

There was an unforeseeable puddle of water, and there was no proof that even by reducing his speed, Zuma could have prevented his vehicle from aquaplaning (losing control of the vehicle because of water on the surface of the road).

Former president Jacob Zuma (front, second from left, wearing spectacles) awaits the verdict in the culpable homicide trial of his son Duduzane Zuma.
Former president Jacob Zuma (front, second from left, wearing spectacles) awaits the verdict in the culpable homicide trial of his son Duduzane Zuma.
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan/TimesLIVE

Dube's family members in court appeared disappointed as they emerged from an office after consulting with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), following the verdict.

"We respect the decision of the court, but the family is not happy," said Elias Maangwale, Afriforum's private investigator.

The organisation's private prosecution unit had applied to privately prosecute Zuma, after the NPA had initially declined to do so due to "insufficient evidence".

The family of Phumzile Dube, who died after the collision between Duduzane Zuma's Porsche and a minibus taxi, in court for judgment on July 12 2019.
The family of Phumzile Dube, who died after the collision between Duduzane Zuma's Porsche and a minibus taxi, in court for judgment on July 12 2019.
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan/TimesLIVE

During trial proceedings, Zuma told the court that on the day of the accident there was heavy rain and visibility was poor.

He also told the court that he had been driving at a speed of about 120km/h and had hit a puddle of water, which resulted in his vehicle losing control and the vehicle spinning.

Michael Jankelowitz, a motorist who testified on Zuma's behalf in May, told the court he was driving on the same road when Zuma's Porsche collided with a minibus taxi.

Jankelowitz corroborated Zuma's version that it had been raining on the fateful night and that he was not speeding.

Duduzane Zuma with his defence team, supported by his sister Duduzile (back to camera), ahead of judgment in his culpable homicide trial on July 12 2019.
Duduzane Zuma with his defence team, supported by his sister Duduzile (back to camera), ahead of judgment in his culpable homicide trial on July 12 2019.
Image: Nomahlubi Jordaan/TimesLIVE

During closing arguments last month, Zuma’s counsel, Mike Hellens SC, said there was no evidence that Zuma was travelling at an excessive speed when he overtook the minibus taxi.

Hellens contended that Zuma could not avoid aquaplaning.

“Aquaplaning happened unexpectedly. What could Mr Zuma have done to avoid aquaplaning that night? At what speed was he supposed to drive that night to avoid aquaplaning?"

However, prosecutor Yusuf Baba had argued that aquaplaning did not happen on its own and that there were factors affecting it, such as “tyre pressure, the speed of the vehicle”.


X